Review into patient care at Tamworth hospital

AN IN-DEPTH review into patient care at Tamworth hospital is being completed after a report on patient deaths found it was the worst performer in the state.

The report by the Bureau of Health Information (BHI), released in December last year, focused on deaths within 30 days after hospitalisation for heart attack, ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke, pneumonia and hip fracture surgery.

Together, the five conditions account for about 20 per cent of all deaths in NSW hospitals.

Overall, the results showed deaths across the state had decreased in the past decade, but among 80 major hospitals in NSW for the period between July 2009 and June 2012, Tamworth hospital was the only one to have “higher-than-expected mortality” for four of the five conditions.

Last Friday Hunter New England Health chief executive officer Michael DiRienzo said medical staff were in the process of doing an in-depth review into the care of all patients at Tamworth hospital during the reporting period. 

“This will involve reviewing the medical files and notes for all patients and is expected to take some time to complete,” he said. 

“The information gathered will assist us to better understand the results presented by the report, identify any areas that require further consideration and uncover opportunities for us to better focus our services to improve patient outcomes. 

“Every death in any Hunter New England Health hospital is audited, and, as part of the patient quality and safety framework, we conduct regular morbidity and mortality meetings. 

“These audits and meetings ensure we understand factors that may have contributed to death or less-than-expected patient outcomes and provide direction for changes that can be made to improve services.” 

Mr DiRienzo said reviews conducted by the health service’s Clinical Governance Unit of findings from these audits and meetings, complaints data and other information had not revealed any concerning trends or poor performance at any of its hospitals regarding the five conditions featured in the BHI report. 

He said since the report was released, Tamworth hospital senior clinicians and executive members had hosted BHI representatives in an effort to better understand the methodology and results presented.

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